- Airtel Chairman and Founder has called the current tariffs unsustainable and noted that the industry needs a tariff hike at some point.
- However, he also noted that the industry was not looking at a major tariff increase in one go.
- Mittal said that it will take a couple of years for 5G to come to India in a meaningful manner.
Airtel Chairman Sunil Mittal in an interview reiterated his stance on hiking the tariffs saying the current rates are unsustainable. He also said that Airtel will look at the market conditions before making any change. "The current tariffs are unsustainable but Airtel cannot move without the industry moving or the regulator moving," Mittal told news agency PTI in an interview.
Mittal further said that the industry needs a tariff hike at some point in time and that it will depend on the market conditions. Mittal also told some newspapers that Airtel's move to raise tariffs will depend on the biggest player. However, he noted that the industry was not looking at a major tariff increase in one go.
He said that the high capital-intensive industry required a steady flow of investments into networks, spectrum, towers and technology and it was therefore important for the industry to be sustainable.
"This industry needs tonnes of money, it is a high capital-intensive industry, buying spectrum, putting out networks, fibre, radio, towers. This is a continuously investing industry," Mittal said. "You have to, every year, spend billions of dollars afresh to get new technology, more coverage, more capacity...so this industry needs to be sustainable. The government wants India to be Digital India, and people to be connected. I think we will have to leave it in their safe hands," he added.
Earlier in August, Mittal had said that subscribers should be prepared to pay a lot more for data in the coming months. "You either consume 1.6GB of capacity per month either at this price point or you may prepare to pay a lot more. We don't want $50-60 (roughly Rs 3,700 Rs 4,400) like the US or Europe but certainly, $2 (roughly Rs 160) for 16GB a month is not sustainable," Mittal had said.
Speaking about Airtel's vision for 5G, Mittal told Business Standard newspaper that there was no doubt that India would be a key player once the technology is rolled out. "My guess is it will take a couple of years for 5G to come to India in a meaningful manner. The 5G spectrum pricing should be in such a way that it encourages investments in telecom networks. Price at the current level will not serve anybody's purpose," Mittal noted.